In January of 2007 I joined Stroh's in Spokane Valley. I signed a one year contract for a total of $400something.
In April I was involved in a car accident and was injured. I was not at fault and got a lawyer.
In April I went to Stroh's with a note from my doctor that said I would need to take at least 10 weeks rest from exerting myself at the gym.
Tony refused to suspend my membership and await full payment of my dues through my settlement. I tried to offer Tony my lawyers contact information. He refused rudely and said that I would have to pay no matter what. (I never said I didnt' want to pay. I was too hurt to work or work out. I lost my job, and I had no way to pay this membership until I was able to work again.)
I told Tony that I was going to have to close my bank account because there was no money in it, and I couldn't risk overdraft fees. He said okay, but that would put me in default on my membership and the total would be due ASAP. He advised me this was the best way to settle things. I told him I would not have the money to pay the remainder until my lawsuit was settled. (Which my lawyer predicted would take until November.) Tony advised me that the fees for not paying the remainder until November would cost me an extra $100 or so. I said "What can I do?" and he shrugged his shoulders in agreement. He asked me to sign a piece of paper that said I was canceling my membership early and would now owe the balance of the year membership. I signed it and then he wished me a fast recovery from my injuries and I left.
I immediately went to my bank and closed my bank account. (Or so I thought)
I was given the last few dollars in the account and told it would take 3 business days to close completely and any drafts that came through before then would be paid by the bank. (And I would be charged overdraft fees)
Since it was the middle of April, I didn't think there would be any problem since I had cut up my card. (Membership dues weren't due to draft again until the first week of May)
In May I get a statement from my bank (which I'm not really expecting) and it says that I'm in the negative almost $100. Bank of America charges you $7 everyday that your account is in the negative. So they paid my $35 membership dues (almost 3 weeks after I was told my account was closed!!) Then charged me a $35 overdraft fee, then for the rest of the month charged me $7/daily on the balance.
I went to the bank branch and closed my account with. The man who 'closed' my account was not employed there anymore. I spoke to the manager and was told that I never signed the paper to close my account and therefore they were in the right to pay my membership dues and charge me the other fees. I was then told that I could not close the account now that it was in the negative and would need to be brought to 0 in order to close the account. She did tell me that she would 'deactivate' the account so that no more charges could be made.
I've never closed a bank account before and didn't realize that I would need to SIGN something to close the bank account. I trusted the employee knew what he was doing.
In JUNE, Stroh's charged my account again (even though I signed the piece of paper to terminate my membership). So that was another $35 membership fee and then another $35 overdraft fee, and then the $7/daily on top of the now over $200 balance.
When the account reaches -$300, it it closed and reported to a credit agency.
When I received my settlement in November (like predicted!) I went with cash in hand to pay Stroh's.
My money was REFUSED and I was told that I would have to pay the balance with the same card I had opened the membership with. I told him the account had been closed and the card was cut up long ago.
I was told that was the only way and I would have to figure it out.
Stroh's reported me to a credit agency who sent papers for me to sign to my MOTHERS house. (These papers were an agreement to pay the credit agency $25/month until it was paid off. But it would accrue fees during that time. And some how the balance from Stroh's went from $250 to $450.)
I called the credit agency when I was given the mail and told them that I tried to pay and everything that had happened. She asked if I had a witness to Stroh's refusing my cash. I did have someone with me, but he has since passed away. She said that the only way I could even begin to contest the balance was to have a witness to the event sign a piece of paper and have it notarized.
Since that is impossible now, I was told by the woman with the credit agency that my only option was to pay them monthly and if I didn't they would report it to my credit.
Now, a lawyer is calling my mothers house DAILY and asking if I'm there. I haven't lived with my mother in a LONG time. (Her number was only attained because she was my emergency contact with Stroh's.)
This lawyer calls her house everyday and refuses to accept that I dont live at that phone number.
Why is a lawyer calling? Shouldn't it have been added to my credit report as a debt?
I dont want to talk to this lawyer because I think its suspicious that a lawyer is now involved.
What should I do?